Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Doctor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Viktor Osinubi


This study examines the effectiveness of basic writing programs at selected Historically Black Colleges. The objectives of many writing programs include, but are not limited to, the following: identifying students whose English, and/or reading comprehension skills are below acceptable levels; determining appropriate course placement for each individual student; providing advisement and learning enhancement courses for provisional students; and providing a writing/tutoring center for students who need supplemental assistance with writing assignments.

This study was based on the premise that not all students entering their first year of college have strong writing skills; therefore, basic writing programs are necessary for students who have deficiencies in writing. Basic writing programs exist at Historically Black Colleges just as they exist at many other American colleges. For that reason, it seems impractical for many colleges to assume that these students who need basic writing skills can be simply ignored.

A case study analysis approach was used to analyze data gathered at selected Historically Black Colleges. The selected colleges which constitute this sample are as follows: Spelman College, Morehouse College; Tougaloo College; Bethune-Cookman College; Oakwood College; and Morris Brown College. These colleges include those that are utilizing basic writing programs and those that are not utilizing such programs. Among this selected sample of six Historically Black Colleges, the colleges that are utilizing basic writing programs are Bethune-Cookman, Oakwood, and Morris Brown, whereas Spelman, Morehouse, and Tougaloo have no such programs. The researcher found that the selected colleges not using basic writing programs have on their campuses remedial level writing students who could have benefited from a basic writing program, but due to political or financial reasons, these institutions choose to ignore the basic writing student. In contrast, however, those colleges that utilize some level of remedial writing instruction actually find improvement in the writing of students who have actively participated in their basic writing programs.

The study's findings reveal that basic writing programs should be established and preserved at Historically Black Colleges because the basic writing student still exists. In other words, the longevity of the basic writing program should be contingent upon whether or not the basic writing student is still alive and well on college campuses. Therefore, in order for Historically Black Colleges to fulfill their mission of producing young men and women who are truly educated, the colleges must find the means and the commitment to provide basic writing assistance to students who need this assistance.

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